311 plays at The Backyard in a haze of green and smoke.Eli Watson

REVIEW: 311 and Sublime with Rome at The Backyard

A couple of bands that need no introduction, 311 and Sublim with Rome, played at The Backyard Sunday. Eli Watson was there to record his fond memories of the bands' sets, especially the distinct aroma of marijuana...

Reggae rock band 311 performed at The Backyard at Bee Cave on Sunday, August 14. Opening up for them was ska punk group Sublime with Rome, and DJs Trichrome and Soulman.

DJs Trichrome and Soulman are masters of their craft. They easily combine artists from different genres together, creating a mash up that delivers a body-moving result. One moment you’re reminiscing about the days of ‘90s alternative rock; other moments you are reliving the music of the ‘60s. Pulling many treats out of their bag of musical wonders, these DJs know how to rock the house.

Sublime with Rome is a band that retains what we loved so much about the original Sublime, while adding some new flavor. Rome Ramirez confidently remains true to Sublime’s sound, and never hesitates to take his own approach on a certain part. Not to mention, the group recently collaborated with Wiz Khalifa on their debut album, Yours Truly. Yes, I agree; the power of Mary Jane can result in some pretty interesting musical matrimony.

Do 311 really need an introduction? Rhetorical, I know. Having debuted in the late 80s, 311 is just one of those bands that have refined their sound with each new record they put out. The group is comprised of talented musicians, and they are completely malleable. You want a funk rock head-banger? Check out “Down.” You want a song you can serenade your significant other to? Check out “Amber.” These guys have a very eclectic sound, and seeing them live was an absolute honor.

Underneath the cloud of smoke, empty beer cans and water bottles, was a very important message that Hexum never hesitated to say. “Stay positive” seemed to be the theme of the show.

— Eli Watson

Starting off the show were DJs Trichrome and Soulman. As people began to purchase drinks, roll out their blankets and get comfortable, these DJs were throwing out a plethora of good music. Trichrome had everyone moving when he put on Musical Youth’s “Pass the Dutchie,” a song that foreshadowed what would occur throughout the night. Soulman definitely has plenty of soul. In a relatively short set, Soulman managed to combine Jimi Hendrix, Beastie Boys, Pantera, Johnny Cash, Ludacris and Faith No More altogether, producing a mix that made head turns and had people smiling all over.

Following the DJs was Sublime with Rome, who started off their set with “Smoke Two Joints.” Almost instantly, smoke filled the air, with the proper “puff, puff, pass” method in full effect. Feeding off of the crowd’s chilled-out energy, the group went into “Don’t Push.” Bassist Eric Wilson has still got it, laying down a funky bass line in the middle of the song. Then, Ramirez went right into “Wrong Way.” The crowd sang along, fans going absolutely crazy as the group kicked into the verse. What was most impressive was hearing fans sing the trombone solo that happens in the song. Someone behind me sang the solo without missing a note, and even added in a few dance moves for extra points.

Playing a song from Yours Truly, the band went into “Panic.” Drummer Bud Gaugh is a time-keeping machine, doing unisonal hits with Ramirez and Wilson. Providing a treat for everyone the band brought out Butthole Surfers’ Paul Leary, who started playing “What I Got.” The crowd went absolutely insane; everyone was singing, and anyone who was sitting down immediately stood up and started dancing. Ending with “Date Rape,” Sublime with Rome had everyone moving. The circle pit was full of people skanking and reciting the lyrics. The classic line, “even though he now takes it in the behind,” could be heard all over the venue, people dancing and jumping around until the very end.

As the sky turned black, a multitude of lighters broke through the darkness. People were getting in one last hit before 311 took the stage, and considering the amount of smoke I saw, they were making it count. Suddenly, blue lights flickered on, sporadically shining over vocalist/rhythm guitarist Nick Hexum as he went into “Jackpot.” The band immediately received applause as they ended “Jackpot” and went into “All Mixed Up.” Everyone was moving around and dancing as the band effortlessly went through the classic hit. After going through other songs such as, “Do You Right,” “Wild Nights,” and new songs from their latest album, Universal Pulse, the band went into “Applied Science.”

“Applied Science” melted everybody’s face. Drummer Chad Sexton took control of the song, going into a drum solo that, undeniably, would have left his influences (Buddy Rich, Ginger Baker and Bill Bruford) impressed. Sexton is not the only member of the band who likes hitting things; so does the rest of the band.

Lead guitarist Tim Mahoney was hitting pots and pans, while Hexum, vocalist S.A. Martinez and bassist P-Nut played on an assortment of drums. Throwing sticks in the air and hitting on just about anything they could, these guys could give the Blue Man Group a run for their money.

Continuing to showcase the band’s all-star roster, P-Nut blasted through a bass solo, where he was “slappin’ the bass” and then some. Throwing in some effects, finger taps and other things that made him look like a master of bass, P-Nut had the crowd going crazy. Keeping the energy high (no pun intended), the band went through fan-favorites, such as “Amber” and “Come Original,” before ending their set with “Down.” The band walked offstage for only a few minutes, before taking the stage again for an encore.

“Who’s got the herb,” asked Hexum as the band went into the identically song. People responded to Hexum’s question the best way they knew how to; by lighting up, and letting the smoke make its way to the stage, Hexum and the rest of the group in a trance-like state as the song mellowed everybody out. Luckily, that mellow only lasted momentarily as the band ended with “Creatures (For a While).” Walking offstage, the band thanked everybody for coming out, with Hexum ending the night with two final words: “stay positive.”

Those two words, I believe, resonated with everyone as we all left The Backyard. We all arrived at the venue, sweaty and hot, waiting for the moment when The Backyard would open its gates to musical happiness and take us away from the problems of a rough week. When we all left, we were smiling. Some of us were reciting 311 songs, while others were reciting Sublime with Rome songs. Regardless, we all left that show feeling good and rejuvenated, ready to face another week.

Underneath the cloud of smoke, empty beer cans and water bottles, was a very important message that Hexum never hesitated to say. “Stay positive” seemed to be the theme of the show, and considering the large collective of people there who left satisfied, blaring 311’s discography all the way back home, I think it is safe to say that Hexum is not only a man of music, but a man of wisdom.

We all have to make the best of our lives, and when we are going through hard times we deserve to treat ourselves to something that will remind us that life is not as bad as we make it out to be sometimes. 311 and the artists that played at The Backyard on Sunday were a treat to everybody that attended, and their performances will be something that will be cherished and remembered, for many years to come.